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Week 16 Waiver Wire Pickups - Top Adds for Fantasy Football

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Survive and advance. That's the name of the game at this point in the fantasy season and streaming the right player at the right time is definitely a key part of that, especially in deeper leagues.

If you managed to survive a brutally low-scoring Week 15 with duds from star players and countless fantasy starters sidelined by COVID, congratulations. It doesn't appear as if the slew of missing players was a temporary situation, however, with a ton of new names joining the COVID IR list early in the week. Fantasy managers still fighting to win a championship need to make contingency plans and stash the right players. That's where this column comes in with advice on which fantasy-relevant players should be targeted.

All rostered percentages are taken from Yahoo and players are listed in descending order, not in order of priority. Only players who are rostered in approximately 40% or fewer leagues are considered.

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Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options to Pickup

Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 33% rostered

Say it with me: "This is why you stash backup running backs." Leonard Fournette was a bona fide RB1 this year but now seems set to miss a week, possibly two, with a hamstring injury. Perfect timing, right? It is if you've got Jones on your bench and can deploy him in Week 16 against Carolina where he'll be the only running back of note with Giovani Bernard also injured. Jones is still available in two-thirds of fantasy leagues so make him a top waiver priority and plug him in the starting lineup immediately.

Craig Reynolds, Detroit Lions - 13% rostered

It's looking less likely that we see D'Andre Swift suit up again this season although he hasn't been shut down as of yet. Rather than rookie Jermar Jefferson, it has been UDFA Craig Reynolds leading the backfield the past two weeks. If you thought last week's 83-yard output was a fluke (I did), then he proved otherwise by running for 113 yards on 26 carries and helping Detroit upset Arizona in a shocking victory. Athletically, Reynolds is nothing special but at RB it's all about opportunity. The past two matchups haven't been great on paper but he'll face Atlanta in Week 16 so Reynolds almost becomes must-start material given the nature of the position these days.

Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals - 13% rostered

Joe Mixon left the contest with Denver right at the two-minute mark and didn't return. It appears to be a left ankle injury but no details were given immediately following the game. If Mixon misses or is limited in Week 16, that puts Perine back on the map. The matchups with Baltimore isn't ideal, so don't plan to insert Perine into your starting lineup unless Mixon is a certain DNP for the coming week. He's still a smart stash, especially if you were counting on Mixon to win in the fantasy postseason.

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers - 5% rostered

Jackson had only carried the ball 29 times all season before toting it 13 times in Week 15 for 86 yards. Although Austin Ekeler played all game, he was spelled more frequently than usual due to his ankle injury. If Jackson gets double-digit carries in Week 16, it makes him an interesting Flex option since the Houston Texans and their run defense that has allowed the most rushing yards to RBs in the entire league are on the schedule next. There were some conflicting reports that Austin Ekeler was to be placed on the COVID-19 list on Monday, and then on Wednesday it was made official:

Duke Johnson, Miami Dolphins - 2% rostered

If you saw D. Johnson go for 107 yards and two touchdowns, it was a safe bet to assume it was Diontae Johnson. It wasn't him, nor was it Myles Gaskin. Duke Johnson has re-emerged in Miami as a backup but played the majority of snaps in Week 15 with Gaskin missing much of the last two weeks worth of practice due to COVID. It resulted in the best rushing game of Duke's career and his first-ever 100-yard rushing game. Johnson earned himself a roster spot and could now make this a full-blown timeshare. Be wary of trusting him in your starting lineup for Week 16, though. Last week's opponent was the New York Jets, who allow the second-most total yards and fourth-highest yards per carry (4.59) to running backs. This week, it's the New Orleans Saints who allow the fewest yards per carry (3.54). He should only be considered in very deep leagues.

Others to consider: Devontae Booker, New York Giants (23% rostered); Jordan Howard, Philadelphia Eagles (10% rostered); Ameer Abdullah, Carolina Panthers (4% rostered)

 

Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options to Pickup

Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 69% rostered

Ignore the high percentage of leagues where he's rostered - there's a chance he was dropped in many leagues because of the uncertainty of his status in Tampa. Conveniently, just as Chris Godwin and Mike Evans suffer injuries, AB is being welcomed back to the team after serving a three-game suspension. It's not official that he will play in Week 16 just yet but if he's floating out there on waivers then he's a must-add.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers - 40% rostered

Back on the scene after a 98-yard performance that included a touchdown, MVS is almost looking like a solid WR4 rather than a pure boom-bust pick these days. Over the last four games, he's the WR20. He remains a risky Flex in Week 16 when the Pack faces Cleveland, but he nearly enters must-start territory with Minnesota on deck in Week 17. He was placed on the COVID list so it's questionable whether he suits up in Week 16 anyway. Consider him a stash for championship week.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions - 29% rostered

Keep being skeptical of this Lions team and they may keep surprising you down the stretch. Make that two victories for Dan Campbell's squad and St. Brown has played a major role each time. In fact, after going for eight receptions, 90 yards, and a touchdown in Week 15, he now has at least eight catches in three straight games with an average of 83 yards. He's the clear WR1 in this offense that is suddenly passing again. In a smash spot facing Atlanta next week, it would be hard not to start St. Brown immediately if you are able to add him off waivers. If Jared Goff misses the game (see below) then it makes it tougher to play St. Brown but he's still bordering on must-start territory.

Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills - 19% rostered

Make it three straight games with a touchdown for Davis. With Emmanuel Sanders out due to a knee injury, Davis will continue to work in the rotation and see an uptick in targets. In Week 16, he'll get the New England Patriots and may see J.C. Jackson at times. Needless to say, that's a tough assignment for a wide receiver. When these two clubs met in Week 11, Davis only caught three passes for 20 yards but one of those went for a score. He'll be mostly touchdown-dependent for vale in this game but warrants an add based on his recent usage and won't have Cole Beasley around to compete for targets. He also gets a far better matchup with Atlanta in Week 17.

Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 1% rostered

No Godwin and maybe no Evans means that we'll see a whole lot of Tyler Johnson the rest of this season. He splits his time between the slot and outside while maintaining a 7.7 aDOT that is similar to Godwin's 7.3 mark. There may not be many huge chunk plays in his future but having Tom Brady at quarterback gives any receiver scoring upside.

Byron Pringle, Kansas City Chiefs - 1% rostered

Here we go. First it was Travis Kelce, now Tyreek Hill on the COVID list as KC is experiencing the full impact of the virus. If Hill is out, Pringle looks like the player to add. Over the past five weeks, Pringle is ahead of Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, and Josh Gordon in target share. His 11.3 aDOT is highest on the team among all players with at least five targets. He's a sneaky stash and might be a must-start for desperate Hill stakeholders who miss out on Gabriel Davis.

Others to consider: Jamison Crowder, New York Jets (29% rostered); Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Tennessee Titans - (21% rostered); Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions (10% rostered); Laquon Treadwell, Jacksonville Jaguars (2% rostered); Braxton Berrios, New York Jets (1% rostered)

 

Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options to Pickup

Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints - 5% rostered

Back after a three-week absence due to a knee injury, he caught one of two targets for four yards in Week 15. Not overly inspiring stuff, but it was his first game back and that contest was completely bereft of offense. Expect his role to increase to the point where he could be an emergency fill-in at a thin position.

James O'Shaughnessy, Jacksonville Jaguars - 2% rostered

O'Shaughnessy is the new Dan Arnold. By that, I mean he is the starting tight end for the Jaguars who will catch a few passes for adequate yardage but has virtually no chance of reaching the end zone. If you simply need a few points in a PPR league because you lost T.J. Hockenson and find nothing better on waivers, he could get you by in a matchup with the Jets, who allow the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends.

Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos - 1% rostered

Once again, a tight end leads the Broncos in receiving. This time, Okwuegbunam barely nudged out Noah Fant with 58 receiving yards to Fant's 57. While Fant is the starter and saw more targets in Week 15, there's one thing Albert O has in his favor, besides being widely available on waivers. He was a former teammate of Drew Lock at Missouri and will be catching passes from him as Teddy Bridgewater recovers from his neck injury. His upside is capped due to Fant's presence but he has seen at least three receptions and four targets for three straight games. The Raiders allow the third-most fantasy points to tight ends, so maybe there's room for both Denver tight ends to be low-end TE1 types in fantasy this week.

Others to consider: Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks (36% rostered); Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (27% rostered); John Bates, Washington Football Team (1% rostered)

 

Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options to Pickup

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers - 41% rostered

He didn't smash in Week 15 despite a plus matchup but luckily the schedule remains favorable in Week 16 with a bottom-10 pass defense in Tennessee. The ceiling is always capped for Garoppolo; he hasn't thrown for three touchdowns in a game this year and has limited rushing ability. If you need a steady presence with a good matchup, he's your man.

Justin Fields, Chicago Bears - 26% rostered

Matt Nagy worked his magic again on Monday Night Football. Taking over play-calling duties for OC Bill Lazor, who was out with COVID, he "led" the Bears to nine points in a loss to Minnesota. The only touchdown of the game was a last-second pass from Fields to backup TE Jesper Horsted when the game was already decided. If Lazor returns, there is hope for Fields to continue his progression as an NFL quarterback. There's no better time to do it than in a matchup with Minnesota. Over the last eight weeks, no team has allowed more fantasy points to QBs than the Vikings. Fields is a

Jared Goff, Detroit Lions - 7% rostered

For the second time in three weeks, Goff tossed three touchdowns and led his team to a win. A road matchup with Atlanta would seem to be a great spot to do it again but COVID has other plans. Goff entered the protocol on Monday, so it's questionable whether he will suit up for this game. If he does play, he can be considered a high-end QB2 in Superflex leagues.

Others to consider: Zach Wilson, New York Jets (7% rostered)

 

Team Defense (D/ST) - Waiver Wire Options to Pickup

Philadelphia Eagles Defense - 48% rostered

Playing all divisional games down the stretch turned out to be a blessing for the Eagles. In Week 16, they get a Giants offense that managed all of six points against Dallas this past week and is averaging 12 points per game since their Week 10 bye. It doesn't matter whether it's Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm at QB, this is a unit to stream against for the remainder of the season. In Week 17, it's a rematch with a reeling Washington club.

Seattle Seahawks Defense - 36% rostered

Oddly, the Hawks won't have played their Week 15 contest until the time waivers would run in a normal week but it doesn't really matter how they do against the Rams. We're looking ahead to a decent matchup with the Bears in Week 16 and even better one with the Lions in Week 17. They've really done a 180 in terms of limiting passing yards over the past several weeks and it shows on the scoreboard; Seattle has kept every opponent since Week 5 under 24 points. This unit doesn't deliver many sacks but they are a good bet to hold their next two opponents under 20.



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Kev Mahserejian (@RotoSurgeon) is joined by FTN Fantasy's Vlad Sedler (@RotoGut) to discuss 10 Bold Predictions for the 2022 fantasy football season. Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel SiriusXM 87) - every weekday morning between 6-7 AM ET, Saturdays from 3-5 PM, and Sundays from 3-5 PM. You can also find new... Read More


matthew stafford fantasy football rankings NFL injury news DFS lineup picks

Is Matthew Stafford Injured for Fantasy Football? Will He Play In NFL Week 1?

It was a remarkable debut season for Matthew Stafford in 2021 with the Los Angeles Rams. After being traded to the Rams from the Detroit Lions, Stafford would lead Los Angeles to their first Super Bowl victory since the 1999 season. Entering the 2022 campaign, there are lofty expectations for the reigning champions and the... Read More


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Is Kenny Pickett Going to Start for the Steelers? Where Should I Draft Kenny Pickett?

Pittsburgh product Kenny Pickett was the only quarterback selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, finding his way to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 20 overall. The team certainly wasted no time finding someone it hopes can be its new franchise quarterback following veteran Ben Roethlisberger's retirement at the end of the... Read More


Alec Pierce - NFL Rookies Fantasy Football Rankings Draft Sleepers

Is Alec Pierce The Colts WR2? Where Should I Draft Alec Pierce?

Wide receiver Alec Pierce saw his stock grow significantly in the days leading up to the NFL Draft. Fans and analysts alike took greater notice of the Cincinnati prospect's aggressiveness, physicality, and strong playmaking skills. On Day 2 of the draft, the Indianapolis Colts pulled the trigger, making Pierce their second-round pick. Heading into 2022,... Read More


Treylon Burks - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

NFL Rookies Most Likely to Make Fantasy Football Impacts (And Those Who Won't)

With the popularity of dynasty leagues growing and the fantasy impact of the last few rookie classes, fantasy managers seem to be flocking to NFL newbies at far higher rates than before. Our expectations increased, oftentimes to unrealistic levels. Guys like Ja’Marr Chase and Najee Harris have spoiled us. They were also drafted into picture-perfect... Read More


Allen Lazard - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Is Allen Lazard The Packers WR1? Where Should I Draft Lazard for Fantasy Football?

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard jumped to the top of the team's chart after losing Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason. The 26-year-old signed his second-round tender in June and is expected to be Aaron Rodgers' top target in 2022. He finished with career highs in receptions (40), receiving yards (513), and... Read More


Travis Etienne Jr. fantasy football rankings draft sleepers running backs

Will James Robinson or Travis Etienne Be The RB1 For The Jaguars?

With James Robinson suffering a torn Achilles deep into last season, it quickly became the expectation that a healthy Travis Etienne would be the Jaguars' RB1 this year. Miraculously, Robinson avoided entering training camp on the PUP list and is already taking some reps with the first-team offense. If he continues to progress and sees... Read More


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